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Gay-rights groups push anti-bullying bill

Minneapolis schools, teachers reach deal; Hiawatha-Lake development lacking; Saints tickets rising at new ballpark; Duluth seeks higher tourist profile; deer feed to launch; and more.

Gay rights groups are adjusting their focus toward bullying … Patrick Condon of the AP writes: “OutFront Minnesota, one of the main political forces behind last year’s gay marriage bill, will rally supporters Monday at the Capitol as it aims to push the [anti-bullying] bill through the state Senate after years of setbacks, including a 2009 veto by former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Supporters see a window of opportunity, with full Democratic control at the Capitol guaranteed only through the end of this year. … The House passed the bill last May on a straight party-line vote.”

Meanwhile, two education professionals dispute Strib columnist Katharine Kersten’s views on the bill. In a Strib commentary, Steve Larson and Denise Sprecht write: “Kersten’s Feb. 27 commentary (“Antibullying bill ‘safe’? Check the hidden agenda”) propagates misconceptions and fears to drum up opposition to the comprehensive antibullying legislation we need. … Kersten mistakenly believes that the bill’s list of groups more likely to be bullied would exclude some students. The bill’s language unequivocally protects all students. But there’s good reason for also having the detailed list; certain students are more likely to be harassed.”

You gotta have priorities … . Raya Zimmerman of the PiPress writes: “Two people were hospitalized Sunday after they tried to remove their flat-screen TV from their burning St. Paul apartment. … when firefighters entered a basement unit, a man and a woman were disconnecting the TV in an attempt to save it. The room already had filled up with thick smoke.”

Now Minneapolis’ teachers appear to have a new deal. The AP says: “The union and district say details won’t be released until they’re shared with rank-and-file teachers and the school board. A contract vote is expected in mid-April.”

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Stribber Eric Roper looks at the lack of development at Hiawatha and Lake and says “Besides a site owned by the Minneapolis School District, the lot is one of the most significant opportunities for transit-oriented development along the Hiawatha light rail line. That’s important since development at the intersection of Lake Street has fallen far short of high expectations from when the line opened. In fact, what is now the third-busiest transit hub in the metro is surrounded by 2,700 stalls of surface parking on the equivalent of 18 football fields of land.”

When aren’t Democrats fretting? Don Davis of the Forum News Service writes: “Listen to [DFL chairman] Ken Martin and you could get the idea that Minnesota Democrats are in trouble. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chairman said, however, that his worries are more about members of his own party rather than with Republicans.”

The GleanAnd how did they think they were going to be paying for the thing? Kevin Duchschere of the Strib writes: “Chris Bothe and Wendy Armitage have held the same sweet season tickets for the St. Paul Saints since the team’s first year in 1993 — four seats in the first row of Midway Stadium, right behind home plate. But when the Saints open their new downtown ballpark in 2015, Bothe and Armitage and their guests will be watching instead from behind the third-base dugout. That’s because their home-plate seats will cost more than twice as much in the $63 million, publicly subsidized ballpark.”

There’s some pretty territory back there … and almost no people. Pam Louwagie of the Strib says: “Duluth leaders want to make it the city’s second tourist destination, aiming to attract young vacationers more interested in activity over attractions, movement over museums. ‘We have the largest freshwater estuary in the world in the St. Louis River,’ Mayor Don Ness said. ‘You have all of these amazing natural amenities and outdoor recreation experiences in a fairly small concentrated area.’ ”

Dave Orrick of the PiPress reminds readers of the deer feed about to commence up north: “This will be the first time since 1997 that Minnesota has embarked on an emergency deer feed. It’s the result of pressure from deer hunters who note that the severe winter likely is killing deer in areas where the population is lower than goals set by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. … The ingredient list likely will include dried distillers grain and solubles (from ethanol plants), corn, wheat middlings (a byproduct of wheat mills), dehydrated alfalfa and alfalfa meal, perhaps soybean meal and oats, added vitamins and minerals and molasses as a binder.” Sounds like the State Fair without sticks.